LRE rolled out at Shannon Airport


11 Apr 2003

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Systems integrator and professional services company LAN communications has announced the installation of long range Ethernet (LRE) technology for Aer Rianta at Shannon Airport.

Using the technology remote workers involved in in-flight catering and emergency services can now access a range of services including voice email and Aer Rianta business applications without the need for a network infrastructure upgrade.

Speaking to siliconrepublic.com Dave Weir, IT operations manager at Aer Rianta, explained: “Long range Ethernet allows you to make connections in remote places using existing infrastructure cabling. There is no need to build the infrastructure necessary for LAN [local area network] connectivity. All you need is the phone line.”

“This new technology makes it easier to deploy things at short notice in places that are difficult to get to on normal cabling. Although LAN is a lot faster, LRE is more convenient and cheaper. It certainly is the cheap option for occasional use,” he continued. “Using LRE we can extend the reach of corporate LAN to several pockets of users on the campus.”

He denied that the technology simply acted as an interim solution to the problem of connectivity, arguing that if the idea was to deploy email in a certain remote area, where only a couple of people were working, it would be pointless to set up an entire infrastructure.

“Customers tend to forget the intrinsic value of their existing infrastructure. Some of our telephony cabling is over 40 years old, yet it is this infrastructure which is supporting an innovative technology solution to a very practical problem. LRE extends the life of our cabling far beyond what we thought was possible,” he added.

The company said the impetus for the project stems from an Aer Rianta corporate strategy to provide all employees with access to a number of new applications including an intranet and Oracle Self Service HR, a human resources application that maintains employee information including personal data, career details, salary and annual leave entitlement: “While we could have installed a wireless LAN to cater for remote workers, the cost/performance ratio for the LRE solution was far superior.”

“A wireless LAN would have provided users with an average of 6-8Mbps per user shared for data only. The LRE solution can provide dedicated bandwidth for voice and data services at up to 15Mbps per user at a much lower overall cost.”

The solution contains three core components – a 24-port rack-mountable switch, which provides fast and easy enterprise-type switching performance fully compatible with ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) traffic. Four 10/100 Fast Ethernet ports can be used to connect servers or daisy-chain multiple LRE switches together. Each LRE port is terminated with a CPE (customer premises equipment) device, which acts as a bridge between the LRE and Ethernet.

This LRE CPE device can be up to 5,000 feet away across standard voice grade twisted copper cable. Using four 10/100 Fast Ethernet ports customers can connect multiple devices simultaneously and two RJ-11 connectors provide a link to the LRE as well as the option to connect an analogue phone.

Finally, the plain old telephone system splitter enables the co-existence of LRE and voice traffic on the same telephone line and delivers converged voice video and data.

Weir said the technology is expected to be rolled out at Dublin Airport within the next few months.

By Suzanne Byrne